Running the race

The “Trying” Twos
July 8, 2009, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Motherhood
Here is the Fairy Princess in her chariot!

Here is the Fairy Princess in her chariot!

I say trying instead of terrible because, really, it could be so much worse! (and I hear that the terrible phase is more the age of 3…ugh!) Well, I was holding out the hope that my sweet little Lulu would never really be any trouble at all. Here we are only a few short months away from age 3 and we almost made it. I’ve been holding out on calling this a phase for a few weeks now, hoping that this was only a bad day or two or sixteen!

However, there is no denying it now. We are in a power struggle the likes of which I have not experienced since I was a child myself. Nap is a total battle, and yes, she still needs one. Playing nice or speaking kindly to Little Bit is almost impossible. Being respectful rather than talking back is rare. Sweetness has been replaced with sourness. Ultimately, she is just doing her job of being a kid and I’m not used to it, so some of this nastiness is my  fault.

This is my little girl’s way of growing up and “maturing” (ha!), I know, but why does it have to be so hard! Along with the realization that this is a phase we might be in for a while comes the equally challenging notion that I have to be the one to change. Ugh! I have to grow as a parent right along side Lulu as she grows as a child. This idea struck me today while I had a nice chat with some ladies in a Bible study at church. The way that I have been parenting my toddler has to be adjusted as she outgrows this stage and enters into another. I’ve never been a parent to a 3 year old full of curiosity and new dexterity, communication skills, and preferences. For those of you reading who have children older than mine, you probably know exactly what I mean. I knew that she was going to go through changes as she got older. I just didn’t know that I had to change, too.

Thankfully, I have other mom’s in and out of my life who teach me their tricks of the trade. Some helpful ideas that I received today in the Bible study included these ideas that I am already applying!

1. To delay is to disobey! Obey right away and all the way, every day.

2. The 3 D’s of Discipline are disobedience, disrespectfulness, and destructiveness. If it doesn’t fall into one of these categories find another way of handling it. An example would be accidentally spilled milk…not a discipline issue. Just have them help clean up the mess.

3. Time out can be negative (ineffective) for some children. A more positive spin on the same thing is a Thinking Place. You can spend time there thinking about anything, and having a conversation together about it. This could be reading a new book, having a devotion, talking about a bad dream, or considering disobedient behavior and choosing to correct it. The child can go to the Thinking Place anytime they want or a parent can tell them to go spend some time there.

4. Condemnation makes a bad situation worse. Correction can only make it better. Example: “Why did you hit your brother! You know better than that! Go to your room!” said with an angry tone corners the child and doesn’t give them a way to resolve the situation. However, the same situation corrected with swift and calm punishment can lead them to work it out on their own. For example, say, “There is no hitting. You will go to your room for 5 minutes. When you come out I want you to apologize to your brother and give him a hug.”

5. Be creative!

Yesterday, nap time was horrible. For 2 hours my girls took turns being the instigator who wouldn’t be quiet. Neither party was innocent and both got in trouble, many times during that time. That has become the norm. I have even tried to stay in the room with them. This has only worked when I stayed in until both fell asleep. That has taken as long as 45 minutes. Who can give up that kind of time just sitting there with a stern look on your face saying “lay down” or “be quiet”? If I left the room when only one had fallen asleep, the other would promptly wake them up again, totally ruining all of nap time since they got in a cat-nap and couldn’t go back to sleep.

Today, I got creative and it worked! I know the trick is to see if it will work again tomorrow, but I will take any small victory I can at this point. I laid Little Bit down first and gave her about 20 minutes to fall asleep while I read books quietly to Lulu in the living room. Then we made a game out of sneaking in without waking her up! A-w-e-s-o-m-e! Lucy was quiet and went right to sleep. There was no power struggle or discipline needed for either. What a peaceful afternoon it was!

6. Give her room – lots of room – to do new things. It turns out that I am a control freak. Shocking, I know! Moms of little boys learn how to let go and give their children space sooner than moms of little girls. For those of you, dear friends, with boys…kudos to you! Seriously. How do you do this all the time? Lulu has been “helping” me more in the kitchen, trying on all of the shoes in the house. at once. in one big pile, hiding in her closet and trying on all of her clothes, changing clothes often throughout the day, pulling out every toy that we own in every room of the house just to look for one item that she wants, climbing. jumping. standing on every surface of the house she can get to including the middle of our dining room table, covering her face in slightly tinted chapstick, painting her arms and face with watercolors, playing dress up and wanting to wear the costumes in her sandbox (wings and princess ball gown and all, as see above).

I am utterly spent! I spend all day trying to make things neat, organized, and clean as a housewife while she is doing the exact opposite as a child. She helps me clean up her mess when she is done, but how do I live with it while she is playing? I don’t know how to clean around chaos without cleaning up the chaos. Not to mention the fact that this is only one of my children!! All of this exploration somehow translates into more work for me, and frankly, I don’t like that plan. I understand that there are limits to when and what she needs to get into, but I am also learning that if I continue to expect her to be neat, clean, and quiet like she has always been while she is trying to grow in new areas we will continue to have the power struggles all day long and I will be robbing her of some vital learning experiences and fun.

As you can see, parenting has been taking up a lot of my time. I have been neither a faithful writer nor a faithful reader lately, but know that I pop in from time to time to see how you are doing even if I’m not stopping long enough to comment on your blogs. I hope you are all doing well and I welcome and antecdotes from your own parenting experiences and especially welcome helpful tips and advice. If you are in the same boat, hang in there! We are going to survive, so I hear!

Another reason not to post family pictures…
June 12, 2009, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I saw this article on the front page of the AOL homepage. Can you imagine?  Life size in a grocery store window in the Czech Rep?!  Wow.  It is a nice picture, though.

Sunday Sermon Notes – The creative imagination of the Lord
May 23, 2009, 7:38 am
Filed under: spiritual thoughts, Sunday Sermon Notes

I have been thinking about our Sunday school discussion all week. It has really opened my eyes to a side of the Lord working in my life that I haven’t paid enough attention to. It is awesome!

In the Bible, both in the Old and in the New Testaments, we see one example after another of the Lord’s creativity at work. Here are a few that were mentioned in our discussion:

1. When Jesus heals the blind man, he spits in the dirt to make mud for the man’s eyes and made him walk across town to wash it off. Jesus could have just spoken a word of healing.

2. Parting the Red Sea, letting the Israelites cross through, and crushing the Pharaoh’s men with the waters. God could have just struck them all dead in an instant.

3. Balaam won’t listen to the Lord, so God sends an angel to cut his head off. Yet, He also provides Balaam with a stubborn donkey who turns around and talks to him!

4. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down because the people walked around it and shouted. Wow!

How awesome is the creative imagination of the Lord! I have been paying attention to how the Lord is working in my life in ways that my mind cannot conceive of. Everyday I have seen something new.

For example, I am not a runner. However, I have woken up early for the past 2 days with a desire to go for a run. This morning, I found a 20 dollar bill while running!

Another example happened on Sunday. We went to see my in-laws. We were talking about needing to save up some money to buy Lulu a big girl bed. My mother-in-law said, “Well, come look at this with me.” Someone had recently given them 2 twin beds and mattresses! We went home with one of them that day!

Wow! The Lord is so imaginative! So pay attention – you never know what He has in store for you next!

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” — 1 Corinthians 2:9

Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.


My Garden – Part 2
April 25, 2009, 1:50 pm
Filed under: gardening, spiritual thoughts

If you missed part one, you can read it here.

Last night, my dear friend in Bible study was sharing something her pastor taught about this past Sunday. The essence of her story (which involved details of a biopsy that I will spare you) showed up in my garden today. It is another example of how iron sharpens iron, even in ways that we may not think of at the time. She, of course, had no idea I was going to spend time in my garden today. My friend certainly did not think that I would have a hands on application for what she shared with me. However, thanks to her my garden experience today was as much spiritual as it was physical. I have now given legs to an idea that will probably walk with me for a very long time.

Here is the lesson from the perspective of my garden rather than a medical biopsy (eww):

I was pulling up weeds today, especially between my onions for some reason, and I honestly was having a lazy garden day. It has just been a while since I have spent any time out there, so I just wanted to check some things out. Also, I needed to plant my cucumber seedlings. I was trying to skimp a little on the weeding by just pulling up the greenery. However, my Bible study conversation popped into my head and I was too convicted to leave it at that.

It takes courage for us as believers to really cut out the core of our sin, to do the hard work to prevent the roots of our behaviors from sprouting again. I want to be a lazy Christian more than I even want to be a lazy gardener. Who really wants to start down an honest path with the Holy Spirit digging around and pulling up tender topics? I don’t! I just want the end result of being more holy than I was before. The same is true in my garden. I just want to reap the harvest without putting any sweat into it. However, I know that my efforts will be in vain as a gardener if I let weeds take over my crops. The harvest will not be a plentiful and sweet, nor as flavorful and rewarding. So, I got out my tools and plucked up the weeds, even the tiniest of them, from the root ball up. I got at their core.

With the warm sun on my back, the smell of dirt in my nostrils, and this action analogy on my mind, I had a few moments to ponder some of my sin that I have been skirting and skimping on. I have not been getting to the core and doing the hard work to really rid my heart of the roots. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing that in all actuality. Thankfully, I do know that the Holy Spirit knows what do do. I hope that my open willingness and a lot of prayer will benefit the harvest in me.

Sunday Sermon Notes 4/19/09
April 20, 2009, 10:13 pm
Filed under: Sunday Sermon Notes

Today we had a wonderful guest in the pulpit from Dundee, Scotland. I always adore hearing a sermon with a Scotish accent! Briefly, here is my favorite thing to chew on from the sermon this morning. Please note, there was much more to the sermon. This is just the encouraging chunk I am sharing today…

On Happy Days, the Fonz would take out his comb, look in the mirror, change his mind, and put the comb away – “Perfect!” While that is not scriptural, it is a humorous way to help us remember that we are made in the image of God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made! That is something much more spectacular than having a good hair day.

Dear friends, this week let’s give ourselves a break from feeling less than___, and remember instead how awesome is the Father’s love for us!

Being needed and needing a break!
April 18, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: random

My sweet husband and I had a heart to heart last night about this topic.  Neither of us would change our circumstances (still newly married (4 yrs.) with 2 little children under the age of 3), nor do we wish to shirk our responsibilities. The “list” in never ending. There will always be chores and errands, laundry and repairs, bills and social opportunities.  A vacation only means that the week you return your work load is double! The girls always need something from me. My husband and I mutually need things from each other. Work, friends, family…the endless list! The cycle is currently a real burden to us both.  I know it is normal for everyone to go through spots of feeling overwhelmed. Usually in our marriage we take turns. For once, we are both being hit at the same time, neither being able to support the other very well.

So, sweet blog-reading friends…Do you have any encouragement? Helpful scriptures? Funny stories to lighten my mood? How do we get a break?

Menu Plan Monday
April 14, 2009, 6:22 am
Filed under: homekeeping


This week we will be eating (in no particular order just yet!)

Breakfast options: fruit with whole grain waffles, Raisin Bran, flavored oatmeals, coffee, milk

Lunch options: turkey and cheese sandwiches, tuna melts, pb&j sandwiches, pretzels or goldfish, applesauce or yogert

Dinner options: Chicken pot pie with mixed veggies

Grilled chicken salad

Homemade spaghetti

Cheeseburgers, baked beans, corn on the cob


Dinner out with my dad on Saturday.

Sausage and rice with a salad

I hope you had a blessed Easter weekend, and may God continue to encourage your heart through the story of redemption again this week! God Bless.


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